Tarleton State University’s Bachelor-level Veterinary Technology program is based at their campus in the town of Stephenville, Texas. Of the 11,681 students, about 13% are postgraduates. Fees for tuition for in-state students are in the order of $6,630 and for students from outside the state around $15,990 for each academic year, while study materials may cost roughly $1,200, depending on the program.
According to the BLS, 91% of veterinary technicians work in veterinary offices, clinics and other facilities that provide veterinary services. A smaller number of veterinary technicians work in animal shelters, zoos and research facilities. Many veterinary technicians get their start by taking paid internships with animal health care facilities, which are often available to recent graduates of accredited veterinary technology educational programs.
"One of the most challenging aspects [of the job] comes down to maintaining knowledge on all the changes that occur within the field," says Mike Johnston, chairman and CEO of the National Pharmacy Technician Association. "Pharmacy practice changes on a weekly basis with new generics and new drugs." Another challenge is interacting with patients who are "not always feeling their best," he says. "The majority of your customers that you're going to be dealing with are sick – whether it be a cold or sinus infection or a much more serious, chronic condition. So it takes a lot of compassion and empathy."
Many experienced technicians working for automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission related to the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this system, which is commonly known as “flat rate” or “flag rate,” weekly earnings depend on the amount of work completed. Some repair shops pay technicians on an hourly basis instead.
The scientific aspects of the job aren't the only things that vet techs need to prepare for, however. Tear says the hardest part of working as a technician is dealing with the relatively short lifespan of animals. “Our patients live anywhere from five to 15 years,” she says, “so there’s quite a bit of grief.” Another challenge is getting by on the salary, which, on average, skews quite a bit lower than comparable jobs in human medicine. “This isn’t a career you go into for the money," Tear adds.
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Veterinary technologists and technicians earn two- or four-year degrees in veterinary technology. While they share many of the same responsibilities, technologists typically hold four-year bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology, whereas technicians hold two-year associate degrees. They must also pass an exam and become certified, licensed or registered, depending on the state. Strong science and math backgrounds are essential, Legred says, since much of the job involves drug calculations and lab tests.
Lone Star College System offers multiple training options, including an Associate program and a Certificate program. All programs are based at their campus in the city of The Woodlands, Texas. The college has in the region of 69,395 students in total, with the majority of students on 2-year programs. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Fees for tuition for in-district students are usually about $1,504 and are $3,184 and $3,544 for in-state and out-of-state students respectively. Learning materials may cost in the order of $2,000, although this will vary with the program.
At Ryder, being a technician is about more than working on some of the highest quality vehicles in the business. It’s about mentorship and being trained and certified in the most recent technologies. It’s about working on a variety of vehicle models, brands, and types. But most importantly, it’s about having the chance to advance in your career, while experiencing the responsibility, compensation, and learning environment that only Ryder can offer.
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